THIS IS BRIEFLY THE PLOT. Two soldiers: one a celebrated military hero and the other a broken veteran living in the gutters of London. Their paths last crossed nearly twenty years ago. Now, amidst a hostage crisis in the Middle East, their lives are about to collide again. And the Strike Back is about to begin. John Porter  was involved in a hostage raid in Lebanon in 1989. The raid went disastrously wrong; several Regiment men died. John spared the life of a Lebanese fighter and blames himself for the deaths. Struggling to come to terms with the past, John has hit the bottle and is sleeping rough.Colonel Peregrine Collinson was involved in the same raid. Unbeknownst to his colleagues, it was Peregrine's fault that the mission went wrong. He was awarded a Military Cross and is heralded as a military hero for something he didn't do. After the disastrous raid, the lives of the two men couldn't have been further apart. Until now. A hostage crisis in the Middle East draws the enemies back together again. Who will be the hero this time...

If you had met me only few months ago and told me I might read this book in my future life I would have laughed at you. A military story?!? A best – seller based on action and a very simple plot addressed , evidently, to a male audience?!? Instead...
Record time for my usual reading style. I completed it in only two night reading sessions . I simply could not put it down: just one more chapter, ok one more, and then another … I turned the lights off at 2.a.m. twice and it was over.
 Few months ago I started wishing reading it, (Why? Have you seen the handsome man smiling at you in the pic next to the book cover?) only I didn’t dare buying such a book. And if I wouldn’t like it? But, as it has often happened in my recent life, my little fairy "felt" my secret dream and asked : “Why don’t you read Strike Back, it is Richard Armitage ‘s next TV work and you like him so much”? ( How does she know?) And she added: “You can borrow my copy and read it when you have some time …”

That's it. That’s how ( ... and why ...) I came to read it during the recent holidays and here I am to tell you about it.

Nothing particularly clever in this story, a very simple plot with bad guys and a good guy (what a Guy!), well – written (already winking at a camera), compelling and with a quick pace, perfect to be read on the beach, on the train or bus, queueing at the post office or waiting for your turn at the dentist. Only it is difficult to stop once you start so … pay attention to what you have to do in the following hours...You may forget, be late or find yourself in embarassing situations. Maybe the fact that I could see in my "inward eye" John Porter's tall figure, dark hair and piercing blue eyes just like this (see photos) influenced my good disposition toward such a book.

Imagine reading these words with these pictures in mind: "From the corridor behind him, Porter could hear the rattle of gunfire, and then the sound of a man screaming. Without pausing to think, he held his rifle in his left hand, balanced himself, then threw his entire weight into the wooden doorway. As it flung open, ..." (p. 12)

"Her hand was almost touching his now. Porter let his right hand stretch out, his fingers creeping across the bedding, until slowly they reached hers . He could feel the warmth of her skin against his ..." (p. 126)

Well, let's say I may have been influenced, a bit, not much.And let's admit that, since I've read so many books, I can recognize this is not a masterpiece classic reading but , anyhow, it is a good pleasant read.
I wished I'd read it , I did it and  ... I'm glad of that.

 By the way, did I tell you this is also my RA Friday Post for this week?

P.S. I just wonder, how can they make 6 episodes from this story? They must have added characters and subplots. Furthermore, why did they change the name of John Porter's nemesis from Peregrine to Hugh Collinson? Peregrine was just the right name for such a hateful character! I can't wait to see Sky 1STRIKE BACK in April. The scenes I most long for ... those with John and his teenage daughter, Sally, those must be very touching... and what about those  about John's painful descent to hell , guilt-ridden and haunted? I hope they won't change these parts too much: I loved them.



Luciana said...

Well I have to admit that the story sounds quite good. Maybe no masterpeice, but... I'm just too fond of anything with a war in it. "Saving Private Ryan" is one of my favourite movies ever and I can't get enough of Alan Alda in "MASH", so a war story what RA is something I'm probably going to watch.

Avalon said...

I wont read the book but I will watch it only because of R.A. I am not a fan of modern warfare, I prefer the "old wars". I can read or watch anything regarding medieval warfare, or the historical wars in America.
Great review by the way! Always love to read your reviews.

Anonymous said...

This is kinda funny because I literally just finished watching the lovely Richard Armitage in the first half of North and South! And then I turn on my computer and open up some reading blogs and there he is right at the top of your page!

Maria Grazia said...

@Luciana, Avalon, dailywordsacts
As I told you, I would have never thought I would have liked a book like this, but , honestly I did it. I read several books about WWII, Avalon, and I loved them. They are among 20th Italian literature masterpieces. So this is not my first book about modern warfare and, again, not a masterpiece but I enjoyed reading it.
And you dear friend from dailywordsandacts, you are just moving your first steps into a very ...dangerous... involving ... enchanting ... land: RA's online world.Hope to read about North & South (the BBC series) soon!

Anonymous said...

Great review, MG: I'm glad you enjoyed it!
(although I was pretty sure you would ;D)
Can't wait for the mini to come!
Have a nice Sunday, well, at least better than your Saturday ;-)
xx KB

Maria Grazia said...

Thank you, you're always so kind! But I fear my Sunday will be frantic... lots of things to do. I already know it will be impossible to make it.
Anyway, I'll try to relax a bit tonight to be ready and energetic tomorrow morning!
xxx MG

Phylly3 said...

It does increase one's enjoyment of the book imagining Richard as the hero! But it was a good page turner. The plot did have some surprises, however not the one about who the real bad guy was. (I wish you didn't have that spoiler in your review though.)
Good review! It's nice to read something a bit different sometimes!

Mulubinba said...

Maria, I picked the book up at a local bookshop and read a few pages. I didn't buy it as I had already indulged in buying a few other books. Thanks to your review, I might see if I can find it in the library especially now I have an image of what John Porter looks like!

Anonymous said...

Interesting review, and I certainly agree its a much better book than you'd expect. If you liked it, you might want to try 'Death Force' by Matt Lynn. A bit of research will reveal why I make that recommendation.

MaryKwizMiz said...

Not having the time to read it before April I went for the lazy version of audiobook.. got all the way to chapter 4 but never beyond (might listen to the rest tho). Obviously I too imagined a certain dark-haired actor in every scene and wondering how he would play it.. especially the part where he's endep up on the street, a low-life alcoholic with no place in the world and no hope.. then I saw the promo and realised that Sky would never go so far as to make RA lose fingers, teeth or other essential accessoires :D or make him unnecessary ugly (not that you could :).

I think it's not a book I would otherwise have read, rather averagely written methinks (and the actor (?) who narrates the audiobook should listen to Lords of the North to see/hear how it's done :)
the literary equivalent of popcorn cinema and it definitely needs RAing-up :D
Looking forward to April.. very impatiently so :D

Sana said...

I just want to say I completely agree with everything you've said in this post! I read it because of RA ( come on , he has AMAZING taste in projects!) and found myself not being able to put it down and read it in about 4 days.
About the TV show i've gone to richardarmitageoneline's page for it and read the plot summary cause I live in nZ so will probably never get it on TV here. They lengthened it by taking liberty of what the next mission is Layla has for him at the end of the book.
I really want to the Sally scenes as well I was just beginning to get fed up with porter's acholicism when she came along and I saw a better side to him. Aw ; ) and btw they've changed Collinsons name AGAIN it's Andrew (unless website was wrong whixh is highly likely) now which sounds such a charming name Grrr ; )
Love this comment Why? Have you seen the handsome man smiling at you in the pic next to the book cover?) and yeah you could tell it was written for guys